Chinese high school students’ perceptions of freedom of expression: implications for researching emerging civil liberties in global educational contexts
This study explored attitudes and perceptions of Chinese high school students regarding freedom of expression in their country. A survey capturing perceptions over various forms of free speech (e.g., student publication, dress code) was administered to a sample of 838, which included students from both urban and rural areas within Shaanxi Province in northwest China. A factor analysis and CFA model were administered to confirm survey validity and reliability. A factorial MANOVA was then used to explore differences across gender, grade, and region groups. The findings revealed students largely supported free speech rights but their responses varied to some degree by setting and student age. In general, urban students reported more positive attitudes about their school environment regarding expression and older participants were more likely to be supportive of free speech. All in all, findings suggest that free speech rights are important matters for adolescents in both modern and traditional settings in China. Implications for comparative research regarding civil liberties in diverse contexts are discussed.